Ownership of Saint Louise changes hands, still no urgent care in MH

MORGAN HILL
– Ownership of the old Saint Louise Hospital building in Gilroy
has been transferred to O’Connor Hospital of San Jose. Unlike the
building’s potential purchase by San Jose Christian College, this
transfer should cause no fireworks at Morgan Hill’s City Hall and
in the community.
The transfer from Saint Louise Regional Hospital (SLRH) to the
ownership of O’Connor is mostly a bookkeeping item with no money
exchanged, said Vivian Smith, public information officer for
SLRH.
MORGAN HILL – Ownership of the old Saint Louise Hospital building in Gilroy has been transferred to O’Connor Hospital of San Jose. Unlike the building’s potential purchase by San Jose Christian College, this transfer should cause no fireworks at Morgan Hill’s City Hall and in the community.

The transfer from Saint Louise Regional Hospital (SLRH) to the ownership of O’Connor is mostly a bookkeeping item with no money exchanged, said Vivian Smith, public information officer for SLRH.

“Both hospitals are owned by the Daughters of Charity and the transfer is mostly for development oversight,” she said. “O’Connor has more resources to develop the property.”

The Daughters of Charity is part of the Daughters of Charity Health System, a regional health care system of seven hospitals and medical centers along the coast of California and based in Los Altos Hills.

Smith said O’Connor’s goals would be the same as Saint Louise’s – to bring medical services, but not a full service hospital – back to the community.

“Both Saint Louise and O’Connor will partner with the Morgan Hill Community Health Foundation to develop healthcare services,” said Amanda Urquhart, director of service excellence for O’Connor. “This allows the Daughters of Charity to better manage costs associated with the building.”

Mayor Dennis Kennedy, who, with Councilwoman Hedy Chang and Councilman Greg Sellers, has worked with the Morgan Hill Community Health Foundation and Saint Louise to bring medical services back to the medical office building, said he was comfortable with the move that was effective July 1.

“It’s a good thing,” Kennedy said. “O’Connor does have more resources to find appropriate uses for the facility. They have more staff and more funding.”

Kennedy said he was comfortable that the city’s goal for the building is still the same as the hospital partner.

The Daughters of Charity closed the Cochrane Road facility, east of U.S. 101, in December 1999 and moved the facility to Gilroy. Many physicians moved with it. An urgent care facility also closed in July 2002, leaving Morgan Hill without an ermergency room or urgent care facility.

An attempt to sell the empty building to the college was rebuffed by the Morgan Hill City Council, which refused to change the zoning, preferring to retain it for medical use. The college sued the city and has since bought property east of Sacramento. The suit is still undergoing the appeal process.

In the meantime, the community health foundation, with the city’s backing and financial and logistic support from SLRH, studied the actual medical requirements of the city’s 35,000-resident population. They determined that, while two complete hospitals were not yet necessary for the South Valley area, there is a need for one hospital in Gilroy and physicians, laboratories and acute care facilities in Morgan Hill.

To this end, the foundation and Saint Louise brought in two OB/GYNs and installed them in the medical office building. They stayed only nine months, until a lack of patients caused them to close the office and relocate to Gilroy and San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Efforts to expand Morgan Hill’s ever-dwindling physician base continue.

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